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In the first chapter of Michael McCollum's classic Sci-fi novel, Antares Dawn, Drake and Wilson have the following conversation on the way to the Admiralty building:

"How is that young lady of yours?" Wilson asked as the driver maneuvered the car into the heavy traffic headed for Homeport.

"Cynthia? She's fine, sir." Drake gestured at the overnight bag. "I was hoping for a chance to see her this trip."

Some unidentifiable emotion flashed across Wilson's features. "Sorry, Captain, but you won't be on the ground that long."

I assumed Cynthia was Drake's wife, but I am now halfway through the book, and he seems to be developing a love-interest in another woman. I did a text search of the book and its sequels, but Cynthia is never mentioned again. Also, there seems to be no mention of this problem on the Internet.

So, who is Cynthia? Do we find out later in the book (perhaps by a different name?) Or was that passage just a huge glaring oversight by the author that somehow no one has ever noticed before?

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  • I felt that my answer was pretty comprehensive. Is there anything else you'd like to see addressed before considering an acceptance?
    – Valorum
    Jul 1 '16 at 17:26
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I can confirm that Cynthia is never mentioned again, nor does her existence seem to bother Mr Drake in his ambitions to do the zero-g jiggy-jiggy with the "highly desirable" and "lithe-bodied" Miss Bethany Lindquist a few pages later.

The fact that Cynthia is referred to as his "young lady", the fact that she barely merits a sentence, the fact that Drake accepts an offworld posting without even the need for a conversation with her, straight after having not seen her for nearly a year would all strongly suggest that she's his occasional girlfriend and nothing more.


Out-of-universe, Michael McCollum's mother was called Cynthia. The character was almost certainly intended in order to name-check her, in much the same way as several of the ships + characters mentioned elsewhere in the novel (the Starship Catherine, Elizabeth Esperanza, Robert H. Goddard and Bethany Patricia Lindquist) are all named after members of the author's family including his wife, children and grandmother.

As to the reason why he decided to make his mother into a portside floozy, you'd have to ask Dr Freud.

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